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tv   Hardball With Chris Matthews  MSNBC  February 18, 2019 4:00pm-5:00pm PST

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we're out of time. you can blame it on the rain if you want to. i will be back at 6:00 p.m. eastern tomorrow. don't go anywhere. "hardball" starts now. donald trump tweets about treason and an illegal coup attempt against him. let's play "hardball." good evening. i'm steve karncar kornacki in f matthews. mccabe is speaking out about the investigation of the president. enraged trump is now claiming, quote, treason. in his interview on "60 minutes" airing yesterday mccabe described the aftermath of comey's sudden firing by the president in may of 2017.
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most importantly mccabe explained why trump's actions prompted him to open an obstruction investigation and a counterintelligence probe of the president. >> there were a number of things that caused us to believe that we had adequate predication or adequate reason, facts to open the investigation. the president had gone to jim comey and specifically asked him to discontinue the investigation of mike flynn which was a part of our russia case. the president then fired the director. these circumstances are facts that indicated that a crime may have been committed. the president may have been engaged in obstruction of justice in the firing of jim comey. all those same sorts of facts cause us to wonder, is there an inappropriate relationship, a connection between this president and our most fearsome enemy, the government of russia? >> the story that's received the
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most attention, however, is mccabe's account of a discussion about invoking the 25th amendment to remove the president from office. that prospect which would have required the support of the vice president and a majority of the cabinet was never carried out. however, mccabe said deputy attorney general rod rosenstein floated the idea in the wake of comey's oust for. >> it was really something he kind of flew out in a very frenzied chaotic conversation about where we were and what we needed to do next. the deputy attorney general was definitely very concerned about the president, about his capacity, and about his intent at that point in time. >> rosenstein was actually openly talking about whether there was majority of the cabinet who would vote to remove the president. >> that's correct. counting votes or possible votes. >> today president trump targeted both mccabe and rosenstein calling the
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revelations, quote, illegal and treasonous in saying, quote, wow, so many lies by the now disgraced acting fbi director andrew mccabe. he quoted a commentator on fox claiming, quote, this was an illegal coup attempt on the president of the united states. and he also went after the special counsel quoting rush limbaugh. these guys, the investigators, ought to be in jail. this is one of the greatest political hoaxes ever perpetr e perpetrated on the people of this country and mueller is a coverup. joined now by betsy woodruff, eddie gloud, david french, and bar bar barry grisam. betsy, let me start with you. on the 25th amendment you've got president trump tweeting about right there, might be it's a moment just to take a step back, remind folks what the 25th amendment is when it comes to
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this issue of removing a president. what it would involve. what was actually being discussed there. take us through that. because the president is saying this is treason but this is something that's there in the constitution. >> that's right. the constitution in the 25th amendment explicitly says that if the majority of the members of the president's cabinet as well as his or her vice president all agree that the president is unable of carrying out the duties that that office requires, then they can remove the president and replace him with, i believe, the vice president. this is part of the constitution. it was put in place when there were concerns that a president might have health problems that would prevent him from holding his place in that office. of course, it's never been used. and the question of what the word unable means in that amendment is something that's up for debate. of course, it hasn't happened before. so we don't know when cabinet members would define the word unable. but it's very much something that's legal. the constitution is the law.
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and it specifically says that this tool is available to the executive branch if the president can no longer do his job. for president trump to say that talking about using this legal mechanism is illegal just on a definitional level doesn't make any sense. military coups are illegal, but following a method the constitution lays out is squarely and well within the law. >> that said, the fact eddie, it reaches to the point the former acting director of the fbi there on "60 minutes" talking about this discussion taking place in 2017 about the 25th amendment, i'm thinking about where are the other cases where we've even had this kind of conversation reaching the surface? there was a brief blip in '87 when reagan was president. there were concerns about his mental faculties back then. the president saying this would be treasonous. i do think what can a president, what can donald trump, what
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should the president do when this kind of conversation is out there taking place in public about him? >> well, i think what he has done -- let's answer it in this way, steve. what he has done is appeal to an already expanse suspicion that actors part of the deep state are in some ways trying to undermine his presidency and undermine the will of the american people. so in some ways, what he's doing is he's appealing to a set of suspicions and skepticism out there that could delegitimatize legitimate questions about his presidency. what we know is very clear and what mccabe has done in the "60 minutes" interview is confirm some things we already knew. and that is most folk were, i think, surprised and stunned at what donald trump was up to and what they had come to learn.
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and so we see in interesting sorts of ways folks in a panic trying to figure out what's within the realm of their power. what's legal and what's not legal in order to address something they had never seen before. on the one hand, i don't think we learned anything that was terribly new in the interview on "60 minutes." but on the other hand when we hear donald trump spout treason, he's looking at the deep state and the actors trying to undermine his presidency. >> david french, in the interview, sort of big picture here. you had mccabe basically laying out his case, his justification, his explanation for launching these investigations pointing to a couple of events there. the abrupt firing of the president by james comey. the fact the president did an interview here on cnbc that he linked it to the russia investigation, that he bragged about it to russians visiting him in the white house. listening to mccabe in this interview, do you think he made a strong case for the reaction
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there in terms of launching these investigations to begin with? >> there's an elephant in the room about mccabe we haven't brought up yet. and that's he was fired for not being truthful. and so when i hear mccabe speak, i don't -- he doesn't persuade me of much of anything. what i hear from him is an accusation that's very, very serious or an accounting of facts that part of it was publicly known. of the things not publicly known, i think let's have open hearings about this. so if there was a conversation about the 25th amendment, that's a very serious thing. who said it, why exactly did they say it, who else participated in the conversation? because this is something i think the american people have a right to know about. if serious people in the administration believe the 25th amendment could potentially come into play, we need to know. you know what we also need to know? we also need to know if this
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story is frivolous or if this story is exaggerated. because otherwise what he says alarms an awful lot of people. that's why i think this is the first step or should be the first step of a diligent investigation where people are called in under oath to figure out what happened here. >> and barry, it's interesting. it occurred to me here watching the interview here, mccabe is describing sort of a frantic, high-stakes set of events. a lot of which played out two years ago. 2017 relatively early in 2017, the firing of comey. the alarm bells it set off saying is the president trying to shut down something getting close to questions about him and russia he doesn't want addressed. does it look different now that mueller has been on the job two years since then? is the president going to try to shut this down? he s he going to fire moouler? but he hasn't. does that change the fact we had that two years post-script to
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this? does that change the way the events of 2017 look at all? >> i think right now the president has been advised and advised correctly to have continued firing folks will only make the case stronger against him. the thing that struck me last night with andy mccabe, if you've ever been in the united states attorney's office or assistant united states attorney and you've had an agent come in and do a pitch for their case, that was andy mccabe. if you look at his cadence and how he methodically went through each step that led to the next step of why he was going to make a recommendation of this nature, that part from my perspective just watching his body language and cadence was believable. now, as to whether we should have an investigation, we are having an investigation. we have an ongoing investigation with someone who has seen all of the evidence. mr. mueller. we haven't seen it yet because the investigation is not completed. but when andy mccabe did what
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any good investigator does which is he made contemporaneous notes after his discussions with the president. and those notes have been turned over to mr. mueller. i think those notes will probably speak volumes as to what happened, when it happened, and who was involved in those conversations. >> well, according to mccabe, another red flag was the president's willingness to believe vladimir putin over the word of his own intelligence officials. here's how mccabe recounted the story of an official who recently briefed the president. >> essentially the president said he did not believe that the north koreans had the capability to hit us here with ballistic mills here in the united states. putin told him the north koreans don't have those missiles. >> and u.s. intelligence was telling the president what? >> intelligence officials in the briefing responded that that was not consistent with any of the intelligence our government possesses.
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to which the president replied, i don't care. i believe putin. >> betsy, i guess what's interesting about this is with any other president, i suppose the revelation, that sort of statement from somebody like mccabe, you'd be absolutely stunned and absolutely shocked. on the other hand, this is something the whole world watched the president essentially do at that joint appearance with vladimir putin last summer. >> i think this particular moment was the most significant part of the "60 minutes" interview and the comments mccabe made. it's really extraordinary to hear the characterization of a conversation where the president points to a specific knowable fact and specifically says that he disbelieves the assessment of the american intelligence community directly because putin told him it was wrong. at the helsinki summit, of course trump very widely intimated that. he hemmed and hawed.
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he made it clear that he put a significant amount of weight in putin's claim to him that the russians didn't meddle in the 2016 elections. something we all know is a lie. what makes the characterization that mccabe represents here really extraordinary is that it's so simple and it's trump just simply saying, i believe that putin is right and the intelligence community is lying to me. and these are the kind of characterizations, these are the kind of conversations that just cause extraordinary concern within the upper levels of the american intelligence community. neem the ic take extraordinary risks to gather intelligence. it's expensive and time consuming. in many cases it's dangerous. and for the president of the united states to say he believes that the head of state of one of our moist significant adversaris over the intelligence community couldn't be more chilling. >> barry makes the point we're
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going to find out ultimately assuming we see a public accounting of all of this from mueller exactly what he's learned, exactly what he's been able to put together. we may get a lot of answers to these questions we've been talking about for a couple years now. one of them that's been at the heart of this is the sorts of things, the idea of believing putin over u.s. intelligence, the idea of trump sort of putting on that show in helsinki last year with putin up there next to him. what a motivating that? is it at its core just something that we saw in the campaign from didth trump where he has some kind of affinity for vladimir putin? some kind of leader, something that goes beyond that? >> or some combination of the two. so there's a sense of which -- what i -- my response to mccabe last night with regards to the putin statement is this was consistent with everything we've seen over the last two years.
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and so part of what we've seen over the last two years has in some ways raised the question what is the relationship between donald trump and russia? why is he so consistent in his in some ways defense of russia? and many of us have tried -- many people have tried to make the argument that he's just naturally inclined to identify with dictators. and then we learned about trump ma moscow. then the other people who tried to deny their relationships and contact with russia. and so part of what we're seeing here and this is what made the interview so interesting as a whole is that it's simply confirm whag we already have come to know two years later. and so part of what it does is it just deepens our desire to get a sense of what mueller knows and get a sense of what actually happened. >> ultimately, that's -- we've been waiting on that report and waiting and waiting. saying, hey, it's coming. it's going to be any week here
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now. eventually there will be some more clarity hopefully on all of this. thank you, all. coming up, nationwide protest against the president's emergency declaration. who's likely to win the legal test of the president's powers. also stunning testimony in north carolina of alleged absentee ballot fraud. a seat in congress hanging in the balance. and the president goes for the gold. >> prime minister abe of japan gave me the most beautiful copy of a letter that he sent to the people who give out a thing called a nobel prize. he said i have nominated you. >> a japanese newspaper reports the prime minister did nominate trump. and at whose request? take a guess. we've got a lot to get to tonight. stay with us. we've got a lot to get to tonight. stay with us i customize everyth bike, wheels, saddle.
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welcome back to "hardball." days after announcing a national emergency, donald trump jetted off to mar-a-lago and spent his weekend golfing on palm beach. he left it up to his closest aides and allies to defend his decision on television. steven miller the senior policy adviser insisted there was, in fact, an emergency while dismissing the administration's own evidence to the contrary. he was also asked if there was any precedent for this kind of move. let's watch what he said. >> answer my question. can you name one case where a president has asked congress for money? congress has refused and the president has then invoked powers to get the money anyway? >> the current situation -- >> yes or no, sir? i'm just asking has -- has congress asked for military
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construction, they said no. >> it is clear on its own terms. if you don't like the statute or members -- >> so the answer is no. >> your premise is false because congress has given money consistently. this is part of a national security -- >> but it's never been done under an emergency. >> lindsey graham also defended the president's decision. he was asked if there was any concern that the money being reappropriated from the department of defense to build the wall would take funds away from those in need. here's what he said. >> well, the president will have to make a decision where to get the money. i would say it's better for the middle school kids in kentucky to have a secure border. we'll get them the school they need, but right now we got a national more than on our hands. >> according to "the washington post" president trump and his re-election team want to make finishing the wall a central part of his re-election campaign. a number of rallies against the
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declaration were held across the country amid a growing number of legal challenges. for more, i'm joined by robert costa and sam stein. thanks so both of you for being with us. let me start with you, this idea of a campaign strategy built on finishing the wall in 2020. is there a larger strategy here other than just getting out of the shutdown mess of the last couple months? is there a larger strategy about basically continuing this conversation all through the 2020 campaign on the part of the white house? >> the president debuted this message at his el paso rally last week and talking to his political confidants, it's the start of the 2020 campaign of making finishing the wall the central tenet of that campaign. trying to make sure the conservative voter who rallied behind the wall in 2016 remains with president trump in 2019 and 2020 through the churning political waters of robert
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mueller's investigation and everything else that could come. by underscoring the commitment to the wall, they hope to keep that base with them. >> so sam, i guess that's the question. from now until election day 2020, you know, in 2016 the message you heard from trump was bil build the wall. if in 2020, it's okay, i tried. the democrats in congress blocked me. there was this shutdown. i tried to do the emergency thing. a court blocked me. and now you the voters need to deliver a message in 2020 that you need a wall. how do you think that goes over? >> well, it depends, right? in 2018 they had a variation of this. it was look at this caravan brewing on our southern border. now we need to construct a border to stop it. and we know the results were a 40-seat swing to the democrats
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in the house. i don't know the potetency of ts anymore. he has built his political appeal on a fear mongering of immigrants. you know, part of the reason i believe he wants the issue of the wall more than the wall is it's so foundational to his political appeal. i don't know if you can translate that, though, into, you know, the courts are prohibiting him from doing this. who are you going after at that point? some faceless judge. i think what he would rather have almost in a way is for democrats to be the one stepping in front of him so he could say vote these people out so i could get my money. but this is the one note that trump hits all the time. and i fully expect this will be the main note he hits in the months leading up to the 2020 election. >> robert, when you talk about that idea of trying to keep that base together, 2020 sort of orientation there. you think back to the model for trump in 2016. what got him elected, lost the
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popular vote. about 46% nationally. got the right combination if the midwest. past preseidents, it's been trying to expand the support. is this essentially the white house saying, hey, we're going to try to win in 2020 exactly the same way we did in 2016? it's got to be some narrow combination like that? >> they're saying that once again they want to use an emotional message. an anti-establishment message. we saw that in 2016. as sam said we saw it in 2018. but they're looking at the conservative voter, republican voter. they know in 2018 overhauling the federal judiciary, not enough. the tax cut bill, not enough. so it's coming back to the wall. not talking about deregulation, coming back to the wall. talking about the caravan. and as we saw in the state of the union, bringing up the idea of socialism. these are emotional targets for the republicans as they look ahead. >> over the weekend, "saturday
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night live" poked fun at trump's national emergency. take a look. >> folks, we need wall. okay? we have a tremendous amount of drugs flowing into this country from the southern border or the brown line as many people have asked me not to call it. that's why we need wall. because wall works. wall makes safe. you're not that the smart understand in fact it's easier to understand if you're not that smart. so you could all see why i got to fake this national emergency. >> the president must have seen the show because he then tweeted, quote, nothing funny about tired "saturday night live" on fake news nbc. question is, how do the networks get away with these total republican hit jobs without retribution? likewise for many other shows. very unfair and should be looked into. this is the real collusion. sam, it's -- the use of the word retribution. i mean, there's a story of trump
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in the ongoing war between trump and the media, trump and popular culture, trump and alec baldwin, name your celebrity. there are any number of them he's going after on twitter. i guess what jumped out there was the use of that word retribution and what he might be referring to there. >> it's vague enough he could say i'm talking about libel laws, right? but he's been ginning up anger and even violence towards the press since he started running. there have been instances where the press has been targeted physically in violent ways. this is messed up and he shouldn't do it. now, putting that aside, there are some things that we should note about this. one is that he initially promised that mexico would pay for the wall. the emergency declaration is an admission in many respects that will not happen. and the other thing i think "saturday night live" got which is a risk i believe trump does run, if you remember back in
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2008 when rudy giuliani was running. it had resonance early on. it did win joe biden said famously said it's just a 9/11 with this guy. i wonder if trump runs the same risk by going to the wall so many times in the course of initial campaign, midterm election, and now in the re-election campaign. >> all right. sam stein, robert costa, thanks to both of you very being with us. up next, investigators in north carolina started laying out their evidence today of what they say was, quote, a coordinated and remarkably well-funded attempt to commit election fraud in the only un-resolved congressional race still left from 2018. we're going to bring you the latest after this. you're watching "hardball." latest after this. you're watching " my experience with usaa has been excellent. they really appreciate the military family
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and welcome back to "hardball." guess what, folks. we're in the middle of february 2019. and we still don't know who won every election from 2018. look at this. we were here all last year. every u.s. house race in the country where the democrats are going to take control. we had election night. we had absentee ballots afterwards. there remains one unresolved
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congressional election from 2018. it is right there in the state of north carolina. let's zoom in, remind you if you have forgotten here. the ninth district of north carolina. this is where things have stood since last year. mark harris the republican leading right now by 905 votes but this race was never certified. the original state board of elections that was supposed to do it got dissolved. there is a new state board of elections right now that's hearing this. basically the dispute has to do -- i can't seem to get that county map up but it's in this pocket here. there are two counties. robinson county and bladen county. there's all sorts of questions there about absentee ballots in those counties. the idea that a man named mccray dallas, a local political consultant there working for the republican mark harris in this race was he running essentially an absentee ballot harvesting operation that illegally either produced votes for harris or took votes away from dan mccreed
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i did the democrat. some combination of those things. and the day, finally in the middle of february after this election that took place last november, a hearing the newly constituted board of elections laid out a case that there were serious irregularities. >> we laid evidence that we will show a coordinated unlawful and resourced ballot scheme operated in the 2018 general election in bladen and robinson counties. >> and joining me now from raleigh, north carolina, where that hearing took place today leanne caldwell with nbc news. she was present for the hearing. so leanne, we've known about the idea that there were these irregularities for a long time. the question that we're all asking coming into this hearing is, is there any chance the board of elections is going to look at this and say, okay. we're still going to certify
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harris as the winner? is there any chance they'll call for a new election here? what emerged from this hearing today? >> well, steve, it was a pretty explosive testimony today. and what we found is there was illegal election fraud that happened in the north carolina ninth congressional district. investigators came out with this strong statement of unlawful activity. and then we heard from a key witness lisa brit. she is the stepdaughter of mccray dallas who is at the center of this absentee ballot get out the vote operation. she admitted to tampering. >> so if it was unseelged and ballot was not completely voted, you could fill in the other offices? >> yes, ma'am. >> and who would have distrirec you to do that? >> directed by mr. dallas.
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basically what we would do -- what i would do is to vote for whoever was republican. >> and so, steve, while today is just the first day of the hearing, it could go definitely until tomorrow and possibly until wednesday. there's a lot more witnesses that are to be called. but at the end of this hearing, we will know if the board is going to certify this election for the republican mark harris or if they are going to call for a new election. and so while we think that we're moving onto the 2020 election, we still have 2018 to figure out, steve. >> and leanne, too, my understanding of this is -- and tell me if i got this wrong. you got three democrats on this board there. two republicans. democratic governor make k these appointments. but to make any kind of a decision here, you need to have one of the democrats has to vote for the republicans. one of the republicans has to vote with the democrats. it has to break through or
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there's a possibility maybe of a stalemate here? >> yeah, sure. so if they want to call for a new election, it's going to be -- it's going to call for four of the five board members. that means one republican has to vote with the democrats to call for a new election. if they are going to certify the election, it just needs three of the five board members and so, yeah, since there's two republicans, a democrat would have to side with the republicans. you know, what they're looking for is if the election was tainted enough to get the public to not trust the result of the election. and that is a standard that they're likely going to be looking at on if they're going to call for a new election, steve. >> all right. leanne caldwell down there in raleigh. of course we remind you the house ultimately does have the power to seat or refuse to seat any member. file that one away. up next, the ever-growing rift between trump and european leaders not named putin was on
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full display in munich this weekend. quote, we have a real problem. you're watching "hardball." a r. you're watching "hardball. when did soup become this? at panera, we treat soup differently. with vine ripened tomatoes, signature cheddar, simmered to perfection. with big flavors, not artificial ones. enjoy 100% clean soup today. panera. food as it should be. or psoriatic arthritis, little things can be a big deal. that's why there's otezla.
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welcome back to "hardball." "the new york times" is reporting the rift between europe and the trump administration became open, angry, and concrete in munich. ivanka was in the audience when angela merkel received a standing ovation for her speech rebuking the american. it was different than when mike pence got passing on greetings from the president. let's watch. >> i bring greetings from a great champion of freedom and a strong national defense who has worked with members of congress.
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i bring greetings from the 45th president of the united states of america. president donald trump. >> and pence was met with similar silence in poland a few days earlier when he called for europe to exit the iran nuclear deal. >> the time has come for our european partners to withdraw from the iran nuclear deal and join with us as we bring the economic and diplomatic pressure necessary to give the iranian people, the region, the world peace, security, and freedom they deserve. >> however, members of the trump administration weren't the only americans representing america in munich. a number of republican and democratic lawmakers attended the conference.
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meanwhile president trump sate the japanese prime minister had nominated him for a nobel peace prize. let's watch. >> prime minister abe of japan gave me the most beautiful copy of a letter that he sent to the people who give out a thing called the nobel prize. he said i have nominated you or respectfully on behalf of japan. i am asking them to give you the nobel peace prize. i said thank you. many other people feel that way too. i'll probably never get it. >> well, there was some new reporting that emerged this weekend on who may have asked abe to nominate trump. that's up next on "hardball." that's up next on "hardball. the new capital one savor card. earn 4% cash back on dining and 4% on entertainment.
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need some help managing your oab symptoms along the way? ask your doctor if myrbetriq is right for you, and visit to learn more. welcome back to "hardball." after president trump said on friday that the japanese prime minister had nominated him for a nobel peace prize, a japanese reporter reported he did so at the request of the white house. when asked about that reporting this morning, abe said, quote, i am not saying it's not true. i'm joined now by the former spokesperson for the u.s. mission to the united nations and former republican of new jersey. hagar, i am not saying it's not true. does it ring true to you, this reporting? >> you know? when i read this sentence, if
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you take out double negatives, it should say i am saying it's true. so let's pretend. let's say it may be true. when i was in the white house, i was not aware of president obama's team asking somebody to nominate him for the nobel peace prize. it is entirely possible. it wouldn't surprise me. it certainly doesn't surprise me for president trump to do that. in his world, i think he does think he deserves it. and i think that he wants an award that was also bestowed on president obama. >> governor whitman, you have first-hand experience dealing with president trump from your days in new jersey when you had those casinos in atlantic city. he has brought this up himself, the idea of barack obama getting that nobel prize in 2009 a couple months into his presidency. what's your read on him when it comes to that being a potential motivating factor? >> i think it's a very real motivating factor. he has got to do everything bigger and better than everybody
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before. and particularly barack obama. what we see in the way of this administration is anything that obama touched, had anything to do with, we're going to do away with it. i mean, he should have the common sense to be embarrassed this has gotten out. he should feel humiliated. as a nation it's embarrassing to have the president of the united states ask ood world leader to nominate them. or he didn't do it. okay. somebody else in the white house. and that could have happened. i doubt without his knowledge, but it could have happened. but it puts abe, too -- for him to have mentioned it. the people nominated shouldn't be revealed for 50 years after the decision is made. it's got to make domestic politics a little awkward for him because he doesn't want to be seen as a tool of the united states. it's something that china could exploit. it's something north korea could exploit. this is everything this administration seems to be doing is not necessarily in our best interests as a nation and our security.
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>> well, on this broader question, then, of course the rift between the u.s. and traditional allies in europe, we were talking about that in the last segment. you saw the reaction to mike pence there. also pence. the fact that there were democratic and republican members of congress who went to munich for the security conference to basically deliver by their presence almost a re t rebuttal to sorts, governor, i wonder within the republican party, one of the stories of donald trump's rise it seemed to me was that there was more sympathy among republican voters for his view of those alliances than maybe there were of the rest of the republican leaders. what is your sense? whe what is the audience within the republican party? >> trump's audience is his base. that is 30 some odd percent of
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identified republicans. the republican party is losing member as is the democratic party. it is independents and nonaffiliated. people are throwing hands up. i believe the republicans in the house and senate are desperately trying to hold things together. this is a nation that rebuilt europe. we saved europe. we rebuilt it. we have been strong on the alliance. we are making -- europe wants us to be strong. i was at dinner the other night when a former president of south africa was speaking. he ended up by saying america doesn't need to get strong. america is strong, is great. the world needs a great and strong america. and that's not where this kind of single minded i'm going to do it all myself, it's one-on-one.
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there is nothing wrong with getting europe to take on more of the responsibility for their protection. to say things like imply that we might not be there for them and n.a.t.o. if they are to honor the alliance should there be an attack opens the door for russia and china. we're make tg difficult for those countries such as ukraine and georgia that want to join n.a.t.o. and the eu because russia is in there with propaganda trying to tell people that all sorts of terrible things will happen to them if they join n.a.t.o. or the eu. the leadership in the majority of the country so far want to join. this is something that we're making the world unstable. this policy is not helping us and our security. >> thank you both for joining us. up next, joe biden is definitely a household name, but if he jumps into the 2020 race would
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that be enough to put him ahead of his many democratic rivals and the president if it comes to that? you're watching "hardball." you're watching "hardball. great news, liberty mutual customizes- uh uh - i deliver the news around here. ♪ sources say liberty mutual customizes your car insurance, so you only pay for what you need. over to you, logo. ♪ liberty. liberty. liberty. liberty. ♪ with expedia, i saved when i added a hotel to our flight. so even when she grows up, she'll never outgrow the memory of our adventure. unlock savings when you add select hotels to your existing trip.
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before they run every candidate has to ask himself or herself this one question, do i think i can win? biden's case is different because he has more to lose. he is a former vice president and elder statesman of his own party. he has stature the other candidates don't have, stature that will be at risk if his campaign goes badly. what are the chances that things go badly if he does run. start with the general election. it would be a no brainer, trump is president because he won three traditionally democratic states pennsylvania, michigan, wisconsin. his total margin across those three states was just 77,000 votes. surely scranton joe could flip that around. plus biden is popular now. the last time gallop checked in 61% of americans had a favorable view of him, just 30% unfavorable. then there is this. one of the reasons biden is so popular now is because he didn't run in 2016.
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he didn't have the media scrutinizing him, republicans attacking him, trump throwing every piece of dirt he could find biden's way. hillary clinton got all of that and you saw what it did to her. biden was on the sideline for all of that. and as hillary flailed, he got pretty good press coverage. republicans and trump mostly laid off him. when hillary lost, biden became the what might have been candidate for democrats. but remember, before all of that, before the 2016 campaign began, joe biden wasn't always this popular. in the start of 2015, 39% favorable and 39% unfavorable. that is why democrats weren't exactly lining up to beg biden to run in specks2016. it is possible he could be a good matchup with donald trump. it is also possible his long history in politics and pension
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for gaffs would make him the perfect foil for trump. we don't know what democratic voters think of all of this. in polls they say now more than ever that they care about electability. if biden gets in and gets all that scrutiny that he didn't get in 2016 and if his fellow democrats start going after him, how electable will he look to democratic voters then? take a poll now and biden leads the democratic field. again, it's possible he would stay there if he runs. he has a reservoir of good feelings with democratic voters and he will be just fine. we just don't know. there really aren't many test cases like this. a former vp, 78 years old in 2020, two previous presidential campaigns, one that he left in scandal. he would be running in a media and political atmosphere that upended so many assumptions about what works in politics. run and win vaults to a whole new level. run and lose badly, that stature
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plummets or just stay away and be happy with what you've already got. that is a tough decision for anybody. it's no wonder joe biden is taking his time here. thanks for being with us. all in with chris hayes starts right now. all in with chris hayes starts right now. tonight on all in. >> intelligence officials in the briefing responded that that was not consistent with any of the intelligence our government possesses to which the president replied i don't care. i believe putin. >> a man who launched the investigations into donald trump speaks out for the first time. >> a crime may have been committed. the president may have been engaged in obstruction of justice. >> tonight, what we're learning from andrew mccabe and how the fbi viewed donald trump as a national security threat. >> the deputy attorney general offered to wear a wire into the white house. >> then nationwide protests as democrats ines